European bioeconomy experts call for a shift towards sustainability

In a workshop about promoting education, training and skills across the bioeconomy, experts called for a cultural shift towards sustainability and circularity. They said that one of the main current challenges is to activate citizens towards this objective. The workshop was the first public event of a project run by empirica, Deloitte and Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB) on behalf of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Research and Innovation. The workshop took place on 26 October 2021. It convened over 100 experts from all over Europe, including academics, policymakers, and practitioners from industry.

The bioeconomy is that part of the economy that deals with the production, use, reuse and management of natural resources. This is a wide field that includes activities such as agriculture, forestry, fishery, and food production, but it also deals with, for example, waste management, bioenergy and bio-based manufactures. In the workshop, the experts stressed that the bioeconomy is of great importance as it is crucial to preserve our natural environment, and it can create jobs and significant added value. It has the potential to boost European economies and create the basis for new bio-inspired economic development.

“The experts highlighted that education is central to cope with the necessary skills demands for a sustainable and circular bioeconomy”, says Alexander Cuartas-Acosta from empirica. They see education as one of the main drivers to facilitate the transition to a green economy.”

In the project, the research team examines bioeconomy education in ten European countries more closely: Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Spain. The task is to collect and analyse information about bioeconomy education in higher and vocational education and training (VET), as well as entrepreneurship training. The findings shall provide empirical evidence about skills requirements. They shall support the European Commission’s endeavours to transit towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy. The project will last until September 2022.

You can find more insights in the workshop report here.